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Sansal and Kaddour win the Grand prix du roman de l'Académie Française 2015

Posted by Erica on 10/29/2015
The Académie française has just named two winners, 2084: La fin du monde by Boualem Sansal and Les Prépondérants by Hédi Kaddour, for the prestigious literary prize, Le Grand Prix de l'Académie française, which celebrates it's 100th anniversary this year. This is only the third time since it's inception in 1918 that the Académie has chosen two authors simultaneously for this distinction (the other two years being 1999 and 1954).

Both authors hail from North Africa but their books are quite different. Sansal's 2084: La fin du monde has been compared to Orwell's 1984, in which the populace of the fictitious country, Abistan, must live in a world of forced religion and mass surveillance. Sansal has been a longtime vocal critic of Islamic extremism and is not afraid to portray his opinions in his books. Le Village de l'allemand written in 2008, for example, examined the fine line between Nazism and Islamic fundamentalism. Sansal was previously awarded the Prix du Roman Arabe in 2012 for Rue Darwin, but when the Arab Ambassador's Council who gives the award learned that he had attended and spoken at the Jerusalem Writers Festival that year, they took back the prize money. Although his books have been banned there, Sansal still lives with his family in his birth country, Algeria (brave man!).

Kaddour's Les Prépondérants, meanwhile, plunges us into the world of the 1920s as Americans from Hollywood descend on a North African town to shoot a movie....